Dirtbags head coach Troy Buckley has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Long Beach State for five more years.
LBSU led the Big West with 11 players and head coach Troy Buckley earning All-Conference recognition or awards.
LBSU claimed its first conference title since 2008 with a 2-1 win on Senior Day vs. Hawai’i.
RHP Shane Carle becomes the 47th Long Beach State product to make a Major League Baseball roster.
The Dirtbags grinded out a 3-1 win at Cal and have now won eight of their last nine games.
Buckley won Big West Coach of the Year honors in 2017 after leading Long Beach State to a ninth Big West Conference title. The Dirtbags dominated the conference, winning all eight series and finishing with a 20-4 record. LBSU would be selected as hosts of an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2008, and won the Long Beach Regional over Texas, UCLA and San Diego State. The Dirtbags then had hosting rights for the NCAA Super Regional against rivals Cal State Fullerton. It was LBSU's third Super Regional appearance, and the first since hosting in 2004.
Buckley earned his 200th career win during the 2017 season with a 3-1 win at Cal, becoming the fourth consecutive Dirtbags head coach to reach that mark in his career. The Dirtbags finished the season at 42-20-1, posting the most wins in a season since 1998. A total of 11 players received All-Big West recognition, including Pitcher of the Year (Darren McCaughan) and Defensive Player of the Year (David Banuelos). Eight players from the 2017 team would go on to be selected in the MLB Draft.
The Dirtbags also had a successful season in 2016, reaching a national ranking of No. 17 in the country. Long Beach State went 38-22, including a nine-game winning streak, to register the most wins in a season since 2008 and finish second in the Big West Conference. LBSU received an at-large postseason bid, and played in the Coral Gables Regional hosted by Miami (FL). The Dirtbags went 2-2, collecting two dominant wins over Florida Atlantic while suffering a pair of heartbreaking one-run losses to the host Hurricanes.
In 2014, Buckley's Dirtbags posted a 34-26 overall record, earning an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. There they advanced to the regional final, beating North Carolina twice to reach the final game. Buckley's squad featured the Big West Freshman Player of the Year in Garrett Hampson and six All-Big West selections.
Taking the helm after two disappointing campaigns where the Dirtbags finished lower than fourth in the Big West for the first time since 1989, Buckley took command of a team that had lost its five top hitters and its strikeouts leader from the year before.
Under Buckley's leadership, the squad lowered its team ERA by nearly a full point to 3.55 from 4.67, and he led the team to a 29-27 finish against the nation's third-toughest schedule, just missing a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
That improvement continued in 2012, as the Dirtbags again lowered their team ERA, this time from 3.55 to a Big West best 3.08. Finishing above .500 for the second straight year under Buckley, the team was one game away from clinching the Big West championship, and finished with eight players receiving All-Big West honors.
Buckley stepped up as the head coach for Long Beach State after he had made his return as the team's associate head coach for the 2010 season. That move was on the heels of spending two years as the Minor League Pitching Coordinator with the Pirates. In that position, Buckley oversaw the overall development of every arm in the Pirates farm system, and also worked in conjunction with the Major League ballclub over spring training development and through the season regarding player movement.
That opportunity came on the heels of the tremendous success that Long Beach State's players have had both at the collegiate and professional levels. Since Buckley came to Long Beach State in 2001, the Dirtbags have earned seven Big West Pitcher of the Year awards, and in 2004, Jered Weaver was named the National Player of the Year after posting a 15-1 record with 213 strikeouts and a 1.62 ERA.
Abe Alvarez, Jered Weaver, Jason Vargas, Cesar Ramos, Andrew Carpenter, Brian Shaw, Andrew Liebel, and Vance Worley were all drafted in the first three rounds of the MLB draft after developing their craft under Buckley, and all but Liebel have reached the Major Leagues. Buckley was also instrumental in the recruiting of fellow major leaguers Troy Tulowitzki and the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year, Evan Longoria. Most recently, Jake Thompson (2nd, 2009) and Andrew Gagnon (3rd, 2010) were selected in the top three rounds and are working through the minor leagues.
After his first season at Long Beach State as an assistant coach, the Dirtbags never ranked lower than 28th nationally in team ERA, and ranked in the top five nationally three times. In 2002, the Dirtbags ranked fifth nationally with a 2.99 team ERA as Alvarez was named the Big West Pitcher of the Year, and the next year, Weaver joined Alvarez as co-pitchers of the year as Long Beach State reached the Super Regionals with a 39-21 record. Weaver led the staff in 2004 to a 3.11 ERA, fourth-best in the country as the Dirtbags again reached the Super Regionals.
Following the departure of Weaver, rather than suffering a decline, the Dirtbags posted a record ERA in 2005 under Buckley, leading the nation with a 2.53 mark, and posted a team ERA in 3.64 in 2006 and 3.59 in 2007, the latter being the 16th best in Division I. Buckley previously served three years at his alma mater, Santa Clara, as an assistant coach. From 1998 to 2000, Buckley was the Broncos' hitting coach, pitching consultant and recruiting coordinator.
Prior to his work with the Broncos, Buckley was a coach in the Montreal Expos organization from 1996 to 1997. In 1996, he served as the hitting and third base coach for AA Ottawa and in 1997 he was the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League rookie league Expos in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Buckley was a ninth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1989. He spent three years in the Twins organization, including the 1991 season with AAA Portland. In 1993 and 1994, Buckley was a member of the Reds' AA Chattanooga team before moving to the Expos AA affiliate in Harrisburg in 1995.
Regarded as one of the greatest catchers in Santa Clara history, Buckley was the 1988 WCC Player of the Year and was a second-team All-American after batting .442 with 82 RBIs. Both marks set single-season records. Buckley drove in a school-record 188 runs and also entered himself among the Broncos' all-time greats in batting average (.364), hits (234), doubles (47), home runs (35), total bases (390), extra-base hits (84), and slugging percentage (.606).
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